Many life science companies in pharmaceuticals or biotechnology begin the interview process with a phone ‘screen’ to discuss the job opportunity with a prospective employee to determine if the individual is a good fit, and also to gauge his or her interest in the position. Pharmaceutical Recruiters and hiring managers alike use phone screens as quick and convenient ways to weed out candidates. Here is a quick overview on some of the things you can do to prepare for your phone screen.
- Do… Prepare. talk to the recruiter or client about the role and what’s expected; dig around the company’s website and make sure you do your research about the business. See what you can find out about the interviewer on social media, press releases, research articles, etc.. Make a cheat sheet so can write down some good questions prior to the call.
- Don’t… Get flustered if things don’t always go perfectly. If you make a verbal mistake, pause a moment, take a breath and regroup. If the interview starts late use the time wisely to continue to prepare or read some more about the company.
- Do… Chase. If the call hasn’t yet come in 10 minutes after it was scheduled to start, call your contact or email the interviewer. Most interviewers are busy and sometimes they need a quick reminder.
- Don’t… Take the call while driving or where you could be interrupted. Make sure you are focused and in an appropriate location/quite place with zero distractions.
- Do… ask clarifying questions if you’re not sure of your direction or if it sounds like the same question is being asked twice. You want to make sure you have given yourself the best chance possible and you can only do this by answering the questions correctly.
- Don’t…let anything distract you. Listen very closely and try to picture what your interviewer is asking. You won’t have visual cues to aid you and you won’t be able to see their face or body language. Pay attention to verbal cues, intonation and inflection,
- Do…Slow down, speak clearly, make certain to not over talk. Answer the question concisely yet completely
- Don’t… make jokes or use sarcasm to make a point. This REALLY needs body language to work and you’ll never be able to gauge what your interviewer thinks. Usually, a phone interview is in the beginning stages of the process and you don’t want to make the wrong impression too soon so play it safe and keep it neutral
- Don’t… close the interviewer by asking how you’ve done. Unless it went stupendously well, it’s unlikely the interviewer will tell you then and there what they think of you. Its a mark of desperation.
- Do… ask what the next step will be. It shows that you’re invested, and will be a great test as to how you performed.
- Do… stick to time. The interviewer’s probably got a whole stack of people to talk to after you, and by running over you’re making them late, which is never going to give them a great impression.
If you are they type that gets nervous, have a career counselor mock interview you a couple of times and ask you some difficult questions. This practice will allow you to better express yourself when the real one happens and will allow you to build confidence.
End positively. If you really want the job, end the call on a positive note. indicate that you appreciate the interviewer’s time and offer to be available if they have any additional questions.